In the fall of 2012, IU announced the implementation of a new learning curriculum with the hopes of extending education to more groups of students and truly making the IU culture and what it means to be a Hoosier accessible to young minds everywhere.
Today students know this program as IU Online — or informally known as the online alternative to many in-person courses.
Just four years after its development, more than 25 percent of IU students are enrolled in online classes through the program at IU, according to IU Online.
Whether one is seeking to squeeze an additional class into an already cramped schedule or pursue a full degree, IU Online offers hundreds of individual classes that are open to students nearly anywhere in the world. The options IU gives online contribute to the state of Indiana’s ability to support more than 4,500 students who chose 100-percent distant education schedules — ranking number one of the top eight states in the country, according to IU Online.
One of the main appeals of online classes is the convenience they can offer students, both locally and otherwise. This was a huge draw for junior Julie Flanagan.
“I thought they would be a lot more convenient for me since as long as I had my computer, I could attend class. I didn’t necessarily even need to be on campus,” Flanagan said.
Online courses also allow for more flexibility within a schedule.
“I enjoy the online courses a lot more because I can complete the assignments whenever I have the most free time,” junior Kara Homeier said.
IU Online classes also allow for students to take courses during the summer when they are away from campus but still want to knock out class credits. Junior Hayley Bunch took her community college’s equivalent of IU’s W131: Elementary Composition during the summer.
“I took it online because I wanted to get it out of the way during the summer and not waste credits during my semester on it,” Bunch said. “It’s not a class that makes a big difference whether or not you take it in a classroom because you just basically write papers and learn things you already learned in high school.”
Although many would recommend online classes, it certainly depends on the student. For some, in-person classes are the preferred alternative.
“I wasn’t motivated to pay attention at all. I honestly would pull up the class and get credit for being a part of it, but I would always be doing something else, which ultimately ended up hurting me in the end,” Flanagan said. “I would honestly say it was harder because you aren’t sitting in class with all your other peers and being able to ask them a quick question for them to explain, or you don’t really have a relationship with your professor, either.”
For others, a lack of classroom enables more independence and self-sufficiency that can really help the student in the long-run.
“With in-class courses I find myself getting distracted easily if the professor is not keeping my attention,” Homeier said. ” I learn easiest when I teach myself, so I find that the online courses are better for my learning style. I would recommend online courses to individuals who are self-motivated and can learn easily on their own.”